After battling browntail for the past several years, many folks have come to know the cold weather of winter as a welcome respite from the itchy red dots and varying rashes that coming in contact with the caterpillar’s barbed hairs can cause. However, now is the time of year to take action to remove their nests and help prevent browntail during next year’s warmer months.

The State of Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry is urging people to look for their white, silky nests at the tips of oak and fruit tree branches and remove these nests now through mid-April. This time frame is important because it presents the lowest possible risk of exposure to the caterpillars hairs, but be aware that you may still come into contact with them and should protect yourself accordingly. According to the State, if you see a web, clip it out and destroy it by dropping it in a bucket of soapy water and soaking it overnight; do not leave it on the ground. The caterpillars become active as soon as warmer weather arrives, so do this task as soon as possible. 

To learn more about how to remove nests and browntail caterpillars, visit the State’s website found here.